Cuba announced a strategic policy to extend use of new technologies

Cuba announced a “strategic” policy of computerization to develop infrastructure and technology, e-commerce and access to the network, coinciding with the forecast expansion of the sector in the new framework for relations with the US, official media reported today.

The new policy, issued by the Ministry of Communications (Mincom) at a national forum opened yesterday in Havana, also committed to “expanding the capabilities and use of internet” with “increasingly accessible and competitive prices” to the island, which has a penetration rate of lower network in the world.

Alongside the announcement of this strategy, the state Telecommunications Company of Cuba (ETECSA), which controls the sector, launched a temporary offer 50% reduction in the high cost of internet access in public areas and expires in April confirmed the company. Recently, Etecsa also announced its intention to double the existing navigation facilities and close 2015 with 300, in addition to enabling wifi connection in public areas.

In Cuba, the connection at home is only permitted some professionals, so that the population must be connected in such rooms, where one hour of navigation costs $ 4.5, a price too high in a country where the average salary ranges between 20 and 30 dollars a month.

“Today’s situation does not allow computer activity to address many of the needs required by the population and may find little progress in the use of ICTs, especially uniformly and consistently,” admitted Deputy Communications Wilfredo Gonzalez in the first National Workshop on Computerization and Cybersecurity. Gonz├ílez, quoted by the newspaper Granma, said that the new policy tools computerization will lead to a “sector strategic development for the nation, strengthening the economy and providing broad access to the contents of digital services”.

The importance the government of Raul Castro has given the issue of development of Information Technology and Communications (ICT) was evident at the opening session of the forum, attended by First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel, and Deputy Minister Revolutionary Armed Forces, Army Corps General Alvaro Lopez Miera. After the diplomatic thaw between Havana and Washington, which occurred last December, US announced a series of measures to ease its economic embargo on the island, including facilities for access to infrastructure to improve access to the network are included.

Cuba, which because of its technological backwardness that policy of embargo in force since 1962, has expressed readiness to receive US companies in the sector to explore opportunities for mutually beneficial business.

The process announced by Mincom provides a jump lead technological development in an “orderly and safe” the population, but also the “state political organizations, government and mass,” Granma said. The plan also emphasizes cybersecurity through a new legal framework and creating own applications and solutions built on a national software industry.

“It is necessary to promote exports of IT products and services, establish business models between operators and telecommunications providers, encourage the creation and development of state enterprises in harmony with forms of non-state management” transpired at the meeting, according to the Youth Daily Rebel . In that sense, the realization of business with American companies are given to the island after companies like Google, Netflix and Apple have opened options to offer their services to the island, where they have been forbidden because of “blocking”.

Cuba advanced some steps prior to the announcement of diplomatic negotiations with Washington, such as opening a year of a modern Public Data Center made more than 100 terabytes of capacity, sixfold storage space in the country and should grow this year.